Monday's Farmingdale Village Board meeting drew a large crowd on both sides of a proposal to ban skateboarding on two residential streets in the village.
After long deliberation, the board announced the decision to meet with representatives from the skateboarding community and concerned residents during a work session on Oct. 22 to work on a resolution.
A continued public hearing and vote on the issue will occur on Nov. 5.
The proposed code would prohibit the use of skateboards, in-line skates and roller skates on Fairview Road and Yoakum Street. The board said the reason for the code change was due to safety concerns. If passed, those convicted will have to pay a minimum of $100 for each offense.
"We want to resolve this issue in a way that everybody can still skateboard down the hill and we think that it is safe enough for the residents," said Mayor Ralph Ekstrand. "I'm sure everybody can come to an agreement where safety is addressed and fun is not severely limited."
Residents from Fairview Road mainly complained about their fear of liability if a skateboarder were to be injured on their property.
"My house is at the epicenter of this whole controversy," said Anita Place resident, Raymond Adams.
"I may not own the sidewalk, the town may own it, but I pay taxes for it, I maintain it and I am liable for any damages or hurt that occurs there…It's a nuisance for us. Two handicapped people have to dodge skateboarders on their own sidewalk, that's madness," he said.
Fairview Road homeowner, Joe Diurno, threatened a lawsuit against the village if skateboarding wasn't outlawed on his street.
"If the village allows these gentlemen, kids, to come down that hill and god forbid something happens…who assumes the liquidated damages or any consequential damages that occur from that?," he said.
Skateboarders came to the meeting, boards in hand, asking the board to reconsider.
"I just don't understand how you could ban skateboarding from anywhere. It is just wheels. You can't ban a bicycle. What if someone needs to get to work and there only way to get to work is their skateboard?," said Massapequa Park resident, Rob Winant.
Northport teen, Taylor Toronto, who is currently learning how to long-board in Farmingdale, claimed safety is not an issue.
"We watch out for cars," she said. "They're safe about it. They are responsible. They all wear helmets all the time… It keeps them out of trouble. We could either be doing this outside or we could be doing drugs or we could be on the computer," she said.
Julie Mantooth, 14, became teary-eyed stating that all skateboarders, including her brother Rob Mantooth, are given a bad rap without merit.
"People need to not assume things about us. Just because we skate doesn't mean we are bad people…We always wear protective gear… The worst my brothers friend have ever gotten hurt has been scratches and that was it. We do this to get active. We really just don't want it be banned," she said.
One Sunset Avenue resident said he believes this code change was proposed because of only a few resident complaints.
"The village of Farmingdale is not a homeowners association. The few cannot make the rules for the many. You have to give these kids the opportunity to continue what they're doing," he said.
Former Village Mayor, George Graf, was on hand to share his opinions on the issue.
"The point that we need to focus on is one that we are not talking about the entire village, we are only talking about one of two roads, " he said, stating that the village has the responsibility to protect the residents.
"The issue is at what point does a calamity happen? As good as you guys are, you're not Tony Hawk. You're subject to a mistake…When it is a skateboarder against a car, car always wins… This is a situation where we're going to have wrong place at the wrong time and we're all going to be sorry," he said.